Serious Fires at Johnsonville and Pahautanui.
Bush fires have been very numerous in tbe country districts during the last few weeks. Inspector Shearman has received a roport from Constable O'Farroll, of Johnsonville, rolativo to ono whioh started on Friday last on some bush hind occupied by Mr. Patrick Dougherty, and, fanned by the northwesterly gale which then prevailed, swept across neighbouring sections, owned by Messrs. R. Bould, W. Riddick, and C. Smith. Mr. Bould is tho greatest sufferer by the fire. An eight-roomed dwelling situated on his property was burned to the ground, besides which all his fences, grass, and 14 cords of firewood, wero destroyed. Tho houso, which was unoccupied, was insured in the National office for £200, in tho namo of Mr. W. H. Saunders, from whom it was recently purchased by the present owner. Mr. Bould estimates his loss at about but tho losses sustained by his neighbours have not yet been ascertained. The fire started in somefellod bush, which Mr. Dougherty was burning off. Constable Slight, of Pahautanui, reports that on Friday night the extensive fires which had previously raged in that neighbourhood appeared to have almost died out. A strong wind sprang up, however, on Saturday morning, and revived the flames, which thon enoroached upon the farms of Messrs. Carter, Fearee, Gardner, and W. Galloway, and oarriod everything before them. At noon on Saturday, Constable Slight proceeded to Galloway's farm to render whatever assistance lay inhia power. He rode about a mile and a quarter, with fern burning on eaoh side of the road, and on getting within 50 yards of the house his further progress was barred by a tree which had fallon across tho road, and was on flro. Being almost exhausted owing to the intense heat and the smoke, he returned to Gardner's house, and tound Mr. F. Brady, jnn., engaged in keeping the flames away from the building, which had been ignited twice during tho day. An alarm was given that Mr. Galloway, with his wife and family, were in their own house, surrounded by the firo, which prevented their escape. Mr. F. Brady, son., Mr. C. Brady, and Constable Slight formed a searoh party, and set out on foot, but wore unable to roach Galloway's, owing to the smoko and flames. In a second effort they were more successful. On arrival at the farm it was learned that Galloway and his family had taken refuge -with a neighbour named Reardon, but two young men named Cook were still on the premises, and were suffering from the offeots of the Binoke. • By dint of great efforts the houso was -saved from destruction, and the fire eventually expended itself, but not before the haystaok, cowsheds, stockyard, and 45 Backs of grass seed (worth about .£SO) and almost all tho grass on the farm had been consumed, and a great deal of damage done i i tho fences. No portion of the loss is recouped by insurance. Constable Slight suffered some little injury to his eyes in riding through the fire-covered country.
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